I wouldn’t normally post more than a couple of blogs in a day, I tend to do a lot of writing and then schedule posts to come up over a few days when I am unable to blog. However, this was too much of a biggie to not blog about, especially as this is happening now.
There have been a few rumblings on Facebook today about there being a severe geomagnetic storm in progress, this has been on several pages about the Aurora that I follow. So severe it is being ranked the strongest storm in the current 11 year cycle as it has intensified to KP=8.
Normally I look at such posts and do not share as they are about minor storms that are not strong enough to be seen as far south as we are. However this one does have the potential to be seen, even the Met Office are saying the Northern Lights may be seen as far south as the Midlands! As I live in Northern Ireland, some 200 miles north of the Midlands, then there may be a good chance to observe this beauty tonight if only the clouds would sling their hook.
I saw the Aurora Borealis many years ago as a teenager and I dream of seeing the Northern Lights again. It is a wonderful phenomenon to watch and I hope that by posting this blog you too will look to the skies tonight if they are clear, for a chance to glimpse this elusive lady of the night.
Here’s what the Met Office are saying about the Northern Lights on their blog:
Northern Lights reach the UK
You could catch sight of the northern lights from the Midlands north tonight.
Occasionally there are large explosions on the Sun and huge amounts of magnetically charged particles are thrown out into space, this is called a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). If these particles travel towards Earth they interact with the Earth’s magnetic field and increase global geomagnetic activity. The increased activity releases energy into the atmosphere giving off light in the process, which we call the Northern Lights or the aurora borealis.
A CME arrived at earth in the early hours of this morning (Tues). As the day has gone on the Earth’s magnetic field has become more disturbed with the disturbance reaching a level of G4 on the 0 to 5 NOAA geomagnetic space weather scales.
As a result of this activity the aurora is visible in those parts of the globe currently in darkness. As the UK becomes dark tonight there is an increased chance of the aurora being visible as far south as the Midlands. However due to the extensive cloud cover in Eastern areas, the best chance of clear skies is to the west of high ground. Check cloud cover in your area via our dedicated pages.
Areas such as the Northern tip of Northern Ireland, the Western Isles and parts of North Wales probably stand the best chance of seeing the aurora. See the British Geological Survey webpages on tips to see the aurora.